Anglo wants court to order Amcu president’s arrest

2014-02-21 13:08

Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has asked the labour court to order the incarceration of the Association of Mining and Construction Union’s (Amcu’s) president Joseph Mathunjwa, treasurer Jimmy Gama as well as 38 shop stewards at Amplats mines.

This demand is contained in an application to have Amcu declared in contempt of court, which was filed last week Thursday – one day before Amplats went to the North Gauteng High Court to claim damages of R586?million from the union in a separate legal action.

Lawyers for Amplats and Amcu appeared in the Johannesburg Labour Court briefly this morning where the matter was postponed until next month.

Hundreds of Amcu members were demonstrating in the street outside the court.

The application by Amplats relies on an interim labour court order the company got on the second day of the strike, January 24.

Amcu members were urgently interdicted from unlawful behaviour.

Amplats also sought to have a contentious set of picketing rules it had procured at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) turned into an urgent court order and today’s case to a large extent was based on that.

Amcu’s counsel, Nazeer Cassim’s, counter-argument is that the labour court order did not actually make the picketing rules into an order of the court.

On that basis Amcu’s leaders can’t be in contempt of court because even if they broke picketing rules, those rules were not a court order.

Instead, Amplats could probably take them to the CCMA or take disciplinary steps against employees.

The order Amplats seeks includes that Mathunjwa, Gama and their shop stewards “be incarcerated for such period as the court deems appropriate” – and that they be fined and that they pay Amplats’ legal costs.

After Amplats filed the contempt application last week, there has been a fight about evidence, with Amcu demanding video footage Amplats alleges demonstrates the Amcu leaders’ malfeasance.

In Cassim’s replying affidavit he accuses Amplats of trying to undermine the Amcu strike, abusing court processes and seeking “draconian” relief.

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